Several weeks ago I was sitting around with my co-workers over lunch, talking about the various things women talk about over lunch. I am the only male in the group, so I usually have to listen and make male comments to ensure I express my general lack of understanding of such things. Just to let them know I AM STILL THERE when the discussion falls into the arena of female things I don’t need to know about.
It was during one of these random dialogues that the topic of spiders came up. The normal fare of Arachnophobia, Texas tarantulas, black widows, wolf spiders, etc. took off. Eventually, Dee, who used to live in Idaho, mentioned that they had aggressive, dangerous spiders, known as Hobo Spiders, which were very well known and feared in that part of the world. I smiled, knowing this was going to be funny. “HOBO SPIDERS, did you say?”
She was entirely serious.
Well now, you can’t just dangle bait like that and not expect me to jump all over it. First words out of my mouth:
” A Hobo Spider? So it rides trains across the country?”
Smart look flashed at me.
“I bet it meets other like minded spiders at the burning trash cans each night?
Slight giggles around the table.
“Well, of course he does. In fact, I bet it has several, having eight legs and all. Full mobile wardrobe for that spider. Probably the best dressed Hobo in town”.
“I guess it would be more appropriate to call them homeless, wouldn’t it?”
“You are probably right. I guess “bum spiders” is probably offensive”
“Guys, it’s a spider. You are worried about offending a spider?
“Well of course. Gotta keep things politically correct”.
“Might get a call from the ACLU, the arachnid civil liberties union”
Well, things just went downhill from there. It was funny. Believe me. Maybe you just had to be there.
Well, later I started thinking about the Hobo Spider. I withheld my other bad jokes about how he might like the song “King of the Road” by Roger Miller. or “Hey buddy, can you spare a fly?”. I eventually looked them up. I found a very serious website dedicated to the Hobo Spider. Talk about a bad animal. The bite is like a brown recluse, which means the wound becomes necrotic and eats a big hole in your skin. Nasty nasty. Evil tempered.
Then I started thinking that they might have sensitive egos and wouldn’t like being laughed at. What if they heard me? They have an ACLU after all? What better way to get back at me than to bite me?. Oh Man! What did I do? What should I do? I don’t wanna get bitten by a HOBO SPIDER! I can’t deal with a nasty necrotic spider bite. Yuk!
“:Hobo? You mean they ride trains?”
“Excuse me Sir, maybe I can help. I heard about your problem and I think I can fix this.”
Later that day……
“Ok, are the cameras running? (throat clear…..Big Smile, a little sweat on my brow)Thank you for coming to the press conference I called to address the plight of the “Hobo Spider”, I want to introduce esteemed politician, Percy J. Windbag, who is introducing legislation to protect the Hobo Spider.
“Thank you Bagman. First, I just want to clarify that we do not believe, contrary to popular opinion, that the term “HOBO” indicates anything derogatory about those in our country who choose to ride trains, congregate by fires at night, or carry all their belongings with them. I mean it really is a cultural phenomena highlighting one of the golden ages of pioneering in our country. Much like gypsy cultures in Europe, the Hobo culture in our country is synonymous with independence, strength, survival, and ingenuity. What a wonderful group of qualities and I for one want to apologize for any offense to any of these unfortunate homeless spiders who obviously are only trying to make it from day to day. I promise you that I will address the spider lobby when I am re-elected and will introduce legislation to make it easier for Hobo spiders to ride all commercially available transportation options, not just trains, be allowed to eat indoors and have access to closets for their clothes. ( WILD APPLAUSE, though actually it was magnified by the presence of dozens of spiders, each with 8 sets of clappers). Thank You. Thank you. I mean, trains obviously serve as a combination of transportation and shelter. If I do say so, quite an ingenious move Mr. Spider, but you deserve better. Um, yes, ok, Hmm, well, again, I just want to apologize for any offense. So in return for this legislation you will agree that you spiders won’t retaliate by biting unless provoked in a life or death situation. Are the ACLU members here? Agreeable? Yes? Whew! Great. Thank you. Great Progress. Yes, a good day.”
“Ok is that it? Cameras off? You’re welcome. Glad to do it. It’s cold isn’t it? Hey Spiders, look over there. Is that a trash can on fire? (phone rings) Yes sir. You’re sure? Yes sir. I understand.”
Spiders congregate around can.
“What the? AHHHHH! There’s a spider on me! AAAAAAHHHHHH! They’re everywhere! Pulls off shoe.
Whack! Whack! Whack! Whack! WHAck! Whack! Splat! Thump! SPlat! Whack!
I stare in disbelief. “But you just said all those things you were going to do for them. Now you just wiped them out?”
“Oh that. It’s an election year. What do you expect? We are the government after all . It’s nothing personal against them. They are a small interest group and that phone call was my boss. He hates spiders and said to make the problem go away. That’s what I do.”
“That’s terrible! I am gonna turn you in to the authorities. You never intended to do those things.You are just a big fraud!”
“Now now, you don’t want to do that, Bagman. (phone rings) Yes Sir, getting to it right now.(hangs up) Uh Oh. It’s come to my attention that you are a spider too. Don’t know how I missed that before”.
Don’t move. Hold still now. WHACK!”